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Caina Healey (35), a former pupil of St Cecilia’s College in Derry, died after she was struck by a car
Tributes have been paid to a Co Derry teacher and triathlete killed in an accident in the United Arab Emirates.
Caina Healey (35), a former pupil of St Cecilia’s College in Derry, died after she was struck by a car while cycling to work in Al Taweelah in Abu Dhabi.
The accident happened on Wednesday morning.
Emergency services rushed to the scene, where Ms Healey was pronounced dead.
She worked as a PE teacher at Amity International School.
Its principal, Adrian Frost, said: “Caina had an immense impact on the lives of her students and colleagues.
“Many of her students attribute their achievements, their character and their values to the instruction and coaching that they received from her.”
St Cecilia’s College paid tribute , saying: “We have been deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and untimely death of past pupil Caina Healey. Caina was a popular student who lived out the school motto every day.
“As a keen sportswoman she proudly represented the school at swimming, running and triathlons.
“As an educator and sportswoman she has touched the hearts of many, including ours.
“On behalf of the entire school community we send our condolences to her family and friends as they navigate this very difficult time.”
Caina had been living in the Middle East for several years.
Amity International School described her as a well-known figure in the Abu Dhabi triathlon scene who had recently qualified to represent the UAE in the Half Ironman World Championship in Finland in August.
The UAE Triathlon Federation confirmed her death in a statement.
It said: “Caina was a remarkable athlete who set the bar high for female triathletes in the UAE. We remember her as a tenacious competitor who always pushed herself to the limit and inspired others to do the same.
“Caina recently placed third in the Bahrain Half Ironman, first in the Muscat Half Ironman relay and had qualified to represent Team UAE in the Half Ironman World Championship 2023.
“Caina was an exceptional educator who touched the lives of many students and her passing is a great loss to Amity International School and the community.
“Her passion and dedication to education were evident in the way she inspired and supported her pupils, giving her time freely and regularly going above and beyond. Her contributions to the school’s sports programme were invaluable.
“It is saddening to think that such a kind and generous person could be taken from us so unexpectedly.”
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Caina was also a member of various sporting groups in the Middle East, including the Al Reef group and the TriBelles.
The Al Reef group said Caina was its only female member, who had a “beautiful energy” and was “always smiling”.
“Caina was the only female rider in our group [and] kept the rest of us on our toes on our weekly rides,” the group said.
“Always on the front — even when there was a 40km headwind — always smiling, always bringing a positive vibe. We are going miss the beautiful energy Caina, who was taken from us way too early, brought to the group.
“Along with the rest of the cycling, triathlon and teaching communities of the UAE, our hearts and thoughts are with Caina’s family at this difficult time.”
The TriBelles said she was “kind, thoughtful and also extremely humble”.
“Sport was her passion and she made a successful career out of it. We know Amity International School and her pupils are feeling this loss just as much as we are,” TriBelles said.
Sporting group Raha said her death “will create a significant vacuum in the lives of many people”.
“She was very well liked by her circle of friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones and those who were closest to her.
“Caina would want everyone to be riding even more in the future and participating in a sport that she truly enjoyed.”
The Irish Embassy in the United Arab Emirates also paid tribute to the PE teacher.
“We are devastated by the loss of a dear member of our community in Abu Dhabi, Caina Healey,” it said.
“An incredible athlete, a caring teacher and a loving friend to many in the UAE. Caina was a shining light that left us far too soon.”
A memorial service in the Middle East is planned, while any Northern Ireland funeral details have yet to be announced.